Car Rental USA – What Credit Card to Use

Car Rental USA What Credit Card to Use

An overview. I originally planned to write about how to rent a car cheaply in the second chapter, but there are too many people in the background asking what credit card is the best to use for car rental, so let’s talk about this topic in advance.

The choice of a credit card is mainly based on two factors, one is insurance, and the other is the cashback rate. But it should be noted that in the previous chapter, we introduced several ways to rent a car. If you rent a car with a credit card travel service, such as chase travel, then you must use the corresponding card, there is no choice.

1. Select a credit card that offers primary CDW/LDW

1) Supplemental Liability Insurance, third-party liability insurance, must be purchased. If you have auto insurance, you can cover the rented car; if you do not have auto insurance, you need to buy it from the rental car company.

2) Collision/Loss and Damage Waiver (CDW/LDW) is not necessary. Generally, credit card companies bring their own, so there is no need to purchase them from car rental companies.

Emphasis: Only US credit cards come with this CDW/LDW insurance, US debit cards and non-US credit cards are not available!

3) CDW/LDW is divided into primary and secondary. For those who do not have auto insurance or the auto insurance is semi-insured, there is no difference; but if the auto insurance is full, the primary CDW/LDW is preferred, but the general credit card insurance is provided by the credit card company (visa/MasterCard, etc.) provided secondary. What can provide primary is a specific credit card issued by a financial institution.

A. Premium Car Rental Insurance can be purchased with Amex credit cards

This is a very good benefit of the Amex credit card, registration is required, the link is stamped 

This benefit is not free, there are two levels, you can choose according to your own needs, I chose the cheap one for $19.95. This registration is bound to your Amex account. After registration, using any Amex card to rent a car will be charged and this insurance will be provided.

*Here is a small advertisement. If you are interested in Amex credit cards and consider applying for one of the following (we have introduced them before), please use our referral link:

  • Amex SPG
  • Amex Blue Cash
  • Amex Hilton
  • Amex Delta (currently the best offer in history)

B. Chase Credit Card

Among the major banks, in addition to the aforementioned Amex, Chase has the most credit cards that can provide primary insurance. Do you ask Citi? Sorry, all of Citi’s credit cards only offer secondary insurance (commercial cards are out of the scope of our discussion).

Here is a list of the personal credit cards I found that can provide primary CDW/LDW chase:

1) Chase’s own home

Chase Sapphire Preferred (CSP, Sapphire)

2) Air card

Chase United MileagePlus Explorer

Chase United MileagePlus Club

3) Hotel Card

Chase Fairmont

Chase Ritz-Carlton

There is an annual fee for these cards. So, there is no free lunch in the world. If you want to use primary CDW/LDW, you either have to pay Amex, or you have a Chase card with an annual fee. Of course, many of these cards with an annual fee are exempt from the annual fee for the first year, and some cards are worth holding for a long time, even with an annual fee, such as Chase Sapphire.

*Here is another small advertisement. If you are interested in the Chase credit card and consider applying for one of the following, please use our referral link:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred (sapphire) (best offer in history)
  • Chase United
  • Chase Marriot (best offer in history)

C. Considerations for choosing an insured credit card

If you play with credit cards/fleece a lot, you should have developed the habit of looking at terms at first glance. The same is true when choosing a credit card with insurance for renting a car. You need to know every detail, such as what models you can cover (common economy and SUV are generally acceptable, luxury convertibles are generally not available), how long you can rent a car and where you can rent a car.

A more specific example:

  • Visa and Mastercard are 15 days (domestic), or 31 days (international)
  • Discover is 31 days
  • Amex is 30 days, or 42 days (with the same rental company and within a 75mile radius)

2. Select a credit card that offers Roadside Assistance

Roadside Assistance, a road emergency assistance service. If you have your car insurance, you should be familiar with these services. This service mainly includes – changing tires (such as breaking down on the road), free towing (generally there is a distance limit, if you exceed the distance, you will be charged), helping to start a fire (such as forgetting to turn off the lights and the battery is dead…) and so on.

Most credit cards offer road emergency services, but unfortunately, they are generally not free and cost around $50. Some high-end cards are free but have an annual fee of $200+ (most annual fees are…$450), such as Amex’s Plantium series and Citi Prestige, Citi AAdvantage Executive.

If you want to enjoy this service without taking a credit card, there are two ways:

1) Car insurance, if your car insurance covers this, this service can be used on your rental car. Both cars in our family are fully insured, so we don’t worry about this when we go out to rent a car

2) Join Triple A membership. Triple A’s full name is the American Automobile Association. It mainly provides road emergency assistance services (and also sells car insurance). There are three levels of membership, generally, $58 is enough. Triple-A has cooperated with many hotel groups, car rental companies, and tourist attractions to provide discounted prices, so if you go out to play a lot, the annual fee will come back (in fact, the annual fee will come back after playing a lot..)

3. Choose a credit card with a high travel income

If you don’t need to consider primary CDW/LDW or you have several cards that offer primary CDW/LDW, the next criterion for choosing a credit card is which card has the highest rental yield? The main point here is that the travel category has a high income. Here are some of the most famous travel cards:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred, $95 annual fee (free for the first year), 50,000 points will be given upon completion of card-opening purchases, 2x points for travel-related spending, and 20% off for car rental with points on Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard, $89 annual fee (free for the first year), 40,000 miles (equivalent to $400 travel statement credit) upon opening the card, 2 times the points for all purchases, each time you redeem miles, you can get the next time Redeem to earn 5% discount
  • Bank of America Travel Rewards, no annual fee, 20,000 points (equivalent to $4,200 travel statement credit) upon card opening, 1.5 times points for all purchases
  • Amex Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), $95 annual fee (free for the first year), 25,000 points will be given for the completion of card consumption, SPG-related consumption can be up to 5 times the points, and SPG points can be exchanged with more than N airlines (specifically You can refer to SPG Personal Card and Introduction to SPG Points System )
  • Venture From Capital One, $59 annual fee (free for the first year), 40,000 miles (equivalent to $400 in travel statement credit) for card-opening purchases, 2x points for all purchases
  • Citi ThankYou Premier Card, $95 annual fee (free for the first year), 3x points on travel-related spending, 25% increase in value of car rental points with Thank You points

4. Choose a credit card with a discount on car rental

A. Citi Dividend

There is indeed such a card that is specially designed for car rental with cashback, which is Citi Dividend. This year is the third quarter of 5% cashback on car rental. At present, the card does not accept new card applications, but it can be obtained through the transfer of other credit cards of the citizen.

B. Amex Credit Card

There are often travel and/or rental-related activities in Amex offers, such as the recent AmEx travel and stix. If you don’t know what an ame offer is, you can check our previous introduction of Amex Offer

5. Summary

To sum up, when renting a car, I would personally recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred first, and Amex SPG second. We can recommend applications for these two cards. If you are interested in these two cards, you are welcome to use our recommendation link, which is the same as the public offer. It is an encouragement to our work~

By Master James

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